Things get off to a bit of a shaky start at Nazeem Hussain’s new show Hussain In The Membrane. This partly not the young comedian’s fault, as a horde of latecomers interrupts proceedings and most of the audience interaction doesn’t provide him with much comic fodder early on and indeed throughout most of the show. As one half of the comedy duo, Fear Of A Brown Planet, the Sri Lankan-born Hussain also seemed to also be ironing out some of the kinks right the start of the festival and perhaps lacked some polish, which would’ve found its way into the show later on. As he scopes out the room for fellow brown people within the predominantly white audience, he finally strikes gold. ‘Are you a Muslim…or do you just like wearing the hijab?’ Nazeem jokes to a member of the crowd.

Nazeem really starts to hit his stride delivering well-spun stories about moving to (and then away from) not-so-Noble Park, returning to where he grew up in Sri Lanka and his religion of Islam. Nazeem couldn’t help but point out the irony of all of us opting to see a Muslim comedian on Easter Saturday. He also talks at length about the opposition to the building of a mosque in Bendigo by the United Patriots Front as well as proposing the notion of Muslim hipsters. One of Nazeem’s strengths is his ability to make fun of racial and religious stereotypes while simultaneously debunking many of them.

Hussain’s brand of humour flits around what I guess could be termed ‘edgy’ but never floats too far towards offensive. He has too much mischievous, self-effacing charm for that. He did however chalk up one walk-out for the night, a man with a crucifix emblazoned on the back of his shirt. Make of that what you will. Maybe the guy just didn’t want to be late for Easter mass…

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